2) Katy was an area weapon. If you are in a small area she is at her best. 1km maps or smaller with Katy firing on you will not be pleasant. This is historically accurate.
What is not historically accurate is the current availability date and the chance of encountering them in 1941 or early 1942. Many of the Rifle companies and battalions I've fought against had a Katyusha battery in support, and for the first year of the war, that's way too much.
What is also not accurate, is their precision. The rockets don't really scatter much at all. They're not an area weapon in the game. Their spread is not too different from that of regular artillery rounds, whilst in reality rockets were far less accurate.
3) As an area suppression weapon the main result is blast. However, one of the main concerns for tanks were blast weapons. While they wouldn't KILL a tank or the crew with anything other than a direct hit, and possibly not even then, they were very capable of knocking out the vehicle mechanically.
With the currently bugged display of where a projectile lands, it's very difficult to determine whether a tank was knocked out by a blast (which is unlikely from a 82mm projectile) or from a hit to the turret (possible). I've yet to see a single instance where a projectile that destroyed one of my tanks actually graphically landed on top of the tank. Usually, the impact is displayed dozens of meters away.
Beware of the rocket artillery on smaller maps. They can be devastating.
In a way, all maps are small, as even a 2x2 map doesn't allow you all that much room for movement. The problem is made worse by the fact that the objectives and thus the AI's unit deployment are more often than not concentrated in a small part of the map, which in turn makes it rather senseless to space out your units: 100 meters between tanks isn't efficient if you're fighting over around 500 meters of the map in width (the approach path to the objectives).
This weapons system was so fierce the first time the Soviets used it Soviet units retreated in disorder. I'm pretty sure we can figure out just how well the Germans liked it.
That's because it's an area suppression weapon, which people fear more than the far more predictable (but also more deadly) artillery shells. You know there'll generally be a pause between artillery shells, even under a heavy barrage, but the volume of fire from a rocket battery (until it has too reload) is much greater.
First, and foremost, reduce the number of launchers in the game.
Making their appearance more historical in terms of when they become available would be a good start.
Second, reduce their experience level.
They're not precision weapons and I don't know if there's a difference for off map units as far as experience levels are concerned. I don't see too much of a difference between a barrage by green 122mm gun crews or veteran 122mm gun crews.
Third, keep your forces spread out. I read that German tanks were taught to have 100 meter spacing. That doesn't often happen in wargames.
That would require better random battle map design, it would require that the AI spreads its forces out too and that objectives are spread out across the entire map.
Having said all that, I'd say the whole idea of the Soviets being able to pre-plot artillery/have turn 1 artillery could use tweaking. For instance, it should be removed completely from meeting engagements. Preferably, in defensive battles, it should be limited to the part of the map the AI is defending. Realistically with the defenders usually being an infantry force, they would not know precisely where an attack would be coming from as at least in the case of the Panzer campaigns, the attacker is highly mobile whilst they are not. Pre-plotted artillery when they're attacking is fine.
I'd still be in favour of actually adding forward observers, that would remove quite a few problems with the current "every platoon commander's a spotter" problem.
Also: maybe random battles could use different setups for units in general, casualties can be rather high. My 12 tanks destroyed a Rifle division's worth of Rifle squads fairly quickly.
< Message edited by ComradeP -- 6/12/2011 9:48:24 PM >
WitE Alpha tester
Panzer Corps Beta tester
Unity of Command scenario designer